Now that I am retired having been many years a magistrate with a long awareness of the declining freedoms enjoyed by the ordinary citizen and a corresponding fear of the big brother state`s ever increasing encroachment on civil liberties I hope that my personal observations within these general parameters will be of interest to those with an open mind. Having been blogging with this title for many years against the rules of the Ministry of Justice my new found freedom should allow me to be less inhibited in these observations.




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Wednesday, 20 April 2016

EACH ACCORDING TO HIS MEANS EXCEPT MILLIONAIRE FOOTBALLERS

I do think that lay benches when confronted by the wealthiest and highest earning offenders are simply afraid of exercising their lawful powers with respect to financial penalties imposed.  They seem seem unable to grasp that if an offence has a range of fine between two bands or eg a single band B [one week`s wages] that that indicates the level of fine which should be imposed irrespective of the offence.  So an individual earning £500 per week who is guilty of a Level 3 offence [maximum fine permitted £1,000] would be fined £500 with a reduction of one third if s/he had pleaded guilty. On April 18th I referred to the case of a Premier League footballer whose fine was unrelated to his enormous income.

It seems that last week I had missed the case of another such footballer who plays for Leicester City F.C.  He became a totter and was duly disqualified for the statutory six months but once more the financial penalty imposed for the speeding offence which put him over the limit seemed to be totally unrealistic.  He was fined just £200 for the Level 3 offence Band B.  His lawyer was apparently as inept as the bench was cowed. According to the report , "His lawyer Imogen Cox told the court his wage - reported to be around £55,000-a-week - was "above the level for the maximum fine" and said he would be able to pay any fine "within the day".  Why oh why was not the fine imposed which his income demanded; £666 assuming the guilty plea?

I make no apologies for stating that such failure to punish the highest earners to the full financial level allowed by parliament brings the law into disrepute and is a further encouragement for those who claim that lay benches are barely fit for purpose thus furthering the arguments of those who would prefer to see our lower courts presided over by full time civil servant government employed District Judges{M.C.} 

Fined according to means has been the principle that parliament has long applied to our legal system. But the impression is there that the treatment of those on very high incomes is at the cost of a stand still or reduction in the standard of living of the average person. We are in a period of doctors overturning the Hippocratic Oath in preference for increased wages using patient concern as their justification, of austerity being used as the reason for reducing incomes of those most in need, of house prices at such levels as being unaffordable for many, of a government trying to frighten us that in fifteen years we`ll all be £4,300 poorer  and for lay benches to add to a local population`s impression that the the rich get richer and it`s the poor what gets the blame is a sure recipe for a disgruntled population to consider that voting for a thinly disguised Marxist government in 2020 would be no bad thing.

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